The metal edges of a snowboard are like a knife. A finely tuned, smooth, sharp edge cuts into the snow like butter, giving you extreme control on the slopes. A rusty, dull edge can make you look clumsy out there, and can even be a safety issue. Rust is inevitable; your board takes too much of a pounding in a wet environment, but you can remove and prevent it in several ways.
Professional snowboard tuners use diamond ski and snowboard stones to remove rust, burs and dings from the edges of boards, clearing the way for a clean cut and a sharp edge. A diamond stone is a specially designed small metal tool featuring raised abrasive diamonds. Measure the bindings' stance width using a tape measure and write down the measurement before removing the bindings to that you can clean the board's metal edges. Wet the diamond stone by spritzing with spray bottle, and then lightly glide the stone down the base edge applying smooth even pressure. Do the same for the side edge. Take your time and go slow, applying just enough pressure to remove the rust.
A gummy stone represents a small abrasive pliable too. It operates much like a large eraser for rust. Since the gummy stone is malleable, you don't have to remove the board's bindings. Wet the stone with a spray bottle and rub it gently on the board's metal edges to remove rust spots. The gummy stone works great for small, surface rust spots, but its spongy body makes it difficult to get leverage for larger, deeper spots. Use the gummy stone between tunings or when you first notice small rust spots.
Salt and Vinegar
The acid in vinegar breaks up oxidized metal, but it can also damage the body of your board. But most people have salt, rags and vinegar in their homes, making this an economic method when you proceed cautiously. Apply a small amount of vinegar to a rag, and then to the edges of your board. Wipe away any vinegar that gets on the body of your board immediately with a dry rag or paper towel. Let the vinegar work on the rust for a minute. Dampen another rag with vinegar, apply a small amount of salt to the rag and use the gritty salt like sandpaper across the metal edges. As an abrasive, the salt complements the vinegar's rust-destroying properties. Clean off any vinegar and salt after removing the rust, being careful not to get any on the body of the board.
Summer Wax and Prevention
Take your board to a professional to be tuned before storing it -- or tune the board yourself. Moisture likes to burrow into the burs and dings that your board collects and tuning it effectively removes them. Tuning also ensures a nice coat of wax seals the body of your board to further protect against liquid intrusion. Store your tuned board in a cool, dry area during the summer months. Do not lean it up against a wall or place anything on top of it during storage. Set it in a neutral position so that it does not warp, because warping creates those pesky burs and dings.
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